Amy Kostine, the CHP’s Trail of Tears project historian, is assisting the Hiwassee River Heritage Center in the development of new exhibits, following up on her significant contributions to the center’s original exhibits a few years ago. Fieldwork coordinator Savannah Grandey will be assisting with the project. The interpretive center is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Fort Cass, the U.S. military headquarters for the Trail of Tears removal, was located in present-day Charleston. Exhibits at the interpretive center also explore the Civil War history of the area and the wartime significance of the Hiwassee River.
Savannah joined the Center at the end of June, and we are thrilled that she is with us as our fieldwork coordinator. A former graduate research assistant at the Center, Savannah received her MA in Public History from MTSU in 2014. Her thesis used mid-century government photography to analyze the rural landscape of the New Deal and the constant evolution of those landscapes as farmers continued to use state-of-the-art technology to conserve natural resources. Prior to joining the Center, she was the Director of Interpretation and Historic Buildings at Historic Westville in Columbus, Georgia. Her research interests include the intersection of human rights and historic preservation, rural landscapes, and Muscogee Creek history and culture.
It’s a busy summer as usual for our Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU program! In addition to the TPS–MTSU Summer Institute, which took place in Brownsville this year, TPS—MTSU has also conducted workshops in Lebanon, Crossville, and Cleveland. A workshop focused on Reconstruction in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives will be followed by National History Day workshops in partnership with the Tennessee Historical Society. If you’re an educator interested in learning more about TPS–MTSU and available workshops for in-service hours, please see the program Web site for a schedule and more information.
We received an overwhelming number of excellent proposals for our new Professional Services Partnerships, a new project selection process we introduced this year. Thanks to all who helped spread the word, and thanks especially to the organizations across the state and region who took the time to craft application packets that are sure to make our decision a difficult one. Center for Historic Preservation staff members are reviewing applications and conducting any necessary site visits to learn more about the proposed projects. Look for more updates in the coming weeks!
Three times a year, the CHP reviews applications for the Tennessee Century Farms program. Families submit an application, along with documentation and photos, to establish that their farm has been in the family for 100 years (or more!). In June, we certified sixteen new farms. Follow the Tennessee Century Farms Facebook page to see our posts about the new farms we have certified this summer. The Board Farms in Obion County, shown here, joined the program in 2016.
We are excited to announce that our partners at Nashville Public Television received a request from the Nissan Foundation for 200 copies of the most recent addition to The Citizenship Project documentary series, “Early Black Press: Tennessee’s Voices Lifted.” The Nissan Foundation is sponsoring an upcoming conference of the National Newspaper Publishers Association/Black Press of America. They will be distributing the DVDs to attendees, bringing NPT’s production to a national audience. The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is a major supporter of the project. If you haven’t checked out the latest documentary yet, it is available online.
Newly updated, with a renewed focus on citizenship, this digital collection emphasizes the impact of federal and state government programs as Tennessee moved into the modern era. The rise of industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is also featured. The Web site, which includes interactive Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU lesson plans for six primary themes, also explores professionalization during the era of Jim Crow segregation and highlights the accomplishments of ethnic minority populations. A number of new partners have shared exciting resources as the collection continues to expand, including the Robertson County Archives, Fort Campbell’s Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, and the Knoxville Museum of Art. Administration and support of the digital collection is an ongoing partnership between the Center for Historic Preservation, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and the James E. Walker Library at MTSU, with initial funding from the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Academic Affairs.
Looking to take some day trips this summer? Take along some of the driving tours that the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area has created over the years with partners from across the state. You can access these via the Heritage Area Web site’s Civil War Trails & Tours link. That link will also take you to more information about the statewide Tennessee Civil War Trails program, and you can download a map to find trail signs across the state. If you are in the Murfreesboro area, stop by at the Heritage Center (225 West College St.), where you can learn about local Civil War and Reconstruction history, plus pick up brochures and maps, including the booklet “The Country All Around Was Laid Desolate: Rutherford County’s Civil War Battles.”
The Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU 2017 Summer Institute will explore the Jim Crow period, focusing on the years from 1896 to the 1930s. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896 granted Constitutional approval to segregation as long as it was “equal.” This stamp of approval from the Supreme Court allowed Southern states to continue with the roll-back of African Americans’ rights that had started as soon as Reconstruction ended. African American communities responded by continuing to build institutions such as schools, churches, businesses, and social organizations to improve their lives and to support their vibrant communities in the face of the harsh segregation system.
Content experts will discuss the changes happening in Tennessee during this pivotal period, including the building of Rosenwald schools across the state. Participants will spend time researching relevant collections, exhibitions, and materials available from the Library of Congress. Experienced educators will share strategies on incorporating the inquiry method and primary sources in the classroom. Participants will visit several sites in West Tennessee, and TPS staff will discuss the importance of using historic sites as primary sources and strategies for connecting site visits to classroom teaching.
Dates: Tuesday – Thursday, June 13-15
Location: West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
Theme: Building Community in the Age of Jim Crow
The goal of the institute is to provide educators with a strong foundation in the historical content related to the theme; provide instruction and share strategies for using primary sources both in the classroom and in conjunction with visits to historic sites; and immerse participants in relevant collections and materials available from the Library of Congress Web site.
Click here for a schedule and more details.
The Spring 2017 issue of Common Bond, our quarterly newsletter, is online. Our Formers’ Corner video features Jessi White, who is the historic preservation consultant for the city of Huntsville, AL. Jessi talks about her mentors at the CHP and how they helped prepare her for the profession. Also highlighted this quarter are current CHP graduate research assistant Torren Gatson, who recently presented a paper at the Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum; our new Professional Services Partnerships program (applications are due June 1); and our Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU outreach efforts, which recently included two packed presentations at the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies conference. In addition to our quarterly newsletter, you can keep up with our news via Facebook.